Bose QuietComfort 35
- Pros: The Bose QC35 brilliantly combines a quality Bluetooth connection with the best active noise canceling in the consumer market. The design remains efficient and comfortable, thanks to its well thought-out construction and intuitive controls. The sound performance is more than correct, as is the autonomy around 20 hours. All accessories are also part of the game.
- Cons: In addition to the price that often climbs on models of the kind, it is regrettable that the battery is not removable. The cables are also a little too short and fine for our taste. It is also impossible to disable the ANC using Bluetooth.
- In Short: I was waiting for the new Bose QuietComfort 35, but it was clearly worth it. Terribly efficient and comfortable, it stands out as the manufacturer’s best headphone, combining two flagship features in recent years: wireless and ANC. A real success on almost every point.
- Circum-Aural Bluetooth Headphone
- Active noise canceling
- Controls on the earphones
- Built-in microphone
- Battery life 20 hours/40 hours wired
- Carrying Case/Airplane Adapter
Bose QuietComfort 35 Review
A few months ago, we wrote a comprehensive comparison of the best active noise canceling headphones. Unsurprisingly, the Bose QC25 was the winner of the battle, building on the manufacturer’s experience in this field. However, some competitors such as the Plantronics BackBeat Pro or the Parrot Zik 3 offered a major advantage over the QuietComfort 25: a wireless connection.
For this year, the brand finally launched a model combining wireless connection and noise canceling with its brand new Bose QuietComfort 35. A long-awaited headphone, which should logically rank among the best models on the market.
To put it simply, the new QC 35 could be defined as a marriage between the excellent QC25 and Bose SoundLink II (see price). It again takes the main lines in terms of design, while joining the flagship features of the two models. Clearly, it is now possible to enjoy its music with a wireless connection and active noise canceling.
Most retailers offer Bose QuiteComfort 35 for a high price. But is it successful or not?
Keep reading for the answer.
Unboxing Bose Qc 35
Before going into the details of the headphones itself, a short tour of its packaging and accessories. The QC 35 is available in a medium-sized cardboard box, with a cover showing some photos of the model and its main features. The set is very sober and in particular, the headphone has an NFC module for an even faster pairing, an autonomy turning around 20 hours.
The headset is announced as compatible with different Apple devices and Android smartphones. However, Windows Phone users or audiophile players should have no problem connecting via Bluetooth.
Inside the box, the Bose QuiteComfort 35 is accompanied by different accessories.
- A 3.5 mm/ 2.5 mm jack cable for wired listening
- An airplane adapter for enjoying the movies/music on the flights
- A USB/Micro-USB cable (short enough) to recharge the internal battery
- A semi-rigid and zipped protective case which will help to perfectly store and transport the headphone during the displacements.
The presence of a charging cable also indicates one of the major innovations of the QuietComfort 35, since unlike the previous model, the manufacturer here chooses an internal battery (not removable) rather than an AAA battery to change regularly.
Design & Ergonomics – Lightweight and Comfortable Headphone
As explained above, the design of the new Bose QC 35 does not necessarily revolutionize what we already knew. The main lines of the brand’s recent references are preserved, with a headphone that keeps a relatively sober and discreet pace.
Available in two colors, black and silver gray. The headphone is in the form of a circum-aural model, whose earpieces are positioned around the ears. A choice that has all it’s meaning since it allows to improve a little more the insulation against external noises.
On the construction side, the manufacturer did not skimp on the means and the assembly appears particularly robust while remaining flexible and light at the same time. At first glance, the headphone seems to be mainly constructed from plastics, but the brand here makes the choice of a nylon reinforced with fiberglass. The result is clearly conclusive and breathes quality. However, the presence of many visible screws is regrettable, making the overall aesthetic of the product little tarnish.
A little more detail, we notice that the arch has slightly reworked compared to previous versions. Constructed of stainless steel, it resists to enormous tensions and twists without any problem, allowing it to easily adapt to anyone’s head. A little wider than on the QC 25, its inner part has a generous padding covered with Alcantara. The material provides an excellent comfort once placed on the head.
Always concerning the arch, it is obviously extensible via a sliding and notched system. Markers allow you to find your favorite setting, even if you prefer to use numbers like some competitors. In practice, the headphone should nevertheless be able to adapt to all the morphologies and it is a good point.
At the end of the hoop, a pivot system (also in stainless steel) holds the large earpieces of the Bose QuietComfort 35. It has the particularity of being able to pivot flat inwards, but also to be folded towards the arch. A rather intelligent choice, which allows the headphone to easily slip into a bag or pouch. It is not possible to pivot the earcups in the other direction to leave them resting on the clavicles when the headset is worn around the neck.
Coming to the atria, which keep this oval curve characteristic of the brand’s recent products. A Bose logo, positioned in the center of each earpiece comes to dress them discreetly. On the right side, there is also a button above the logo to activate the QC 35 and the pairing mode to connect a new device via Bluetooth.
Still, on the right earpiece, controls positioned on the slice can be used to manage play/pause, navigate between different tracks or adjust the volume. As often, you can also use these same buttons to pick up or hang up a phone call and therefore use the headset in the manner of a hands-free kit.
In use, these commands are very intuitive and quick to take over. In addition, two LEDs accompany the buttons to check the state of the connection as well as the battery. Voice announcements are also part of the game, which can be selected via the Bose Connect application.
On the connector side, the right earpiece has a 2.5 mm port to connect the Bose QuietComfort 35 wire, and on the left side a micro-USB port that will be used to recharge the internal battery of the headphone. We also note the presence of the NFC logo, indicating that it is possible to pair its smartphone or compatible tablet in the blink of an eye.
A small detail about the cable for the wired connection, it is a little too short to our taste and especially very thin. In short, it does not inspire as much confidence as the rest of the headphone, especially since its connection 3.5 mm on one side and 2.5 mm, on the other hand, does not necessarily facilitate replacement.
On the inner side of the ear cups, there are ear cushions similar to those of previous versions of Bose headphones. The excellent comfort is always great, with a generous padding and a synthetic leather coating. It should be noted, however, that during the summer months, the heat is felt relatively quickly, especially since the closed design of the headphone does not help with aeration. A disadvantage which will evidently turn into an advantage once the fine days are over.
The Bose QC35 offers an excellent comfort once on the head and ears. The headband fits perfectly and efficiently distributes the weight of the headphone to the skull. The earcups comfortably enclose the ears and do not exert any pain at the temples or the jaw. Clearly, the headphone can be worn for hours.
To finish, a small round of the accessories proposed with the headphone. First of all the presence of an aircraft adapter, as on previous versions of the QuietComfort models. As its name suggests, it allows to connect the headphones to the two-branch connectors present in the planes, in order to enjoy movies and music directly from the headphones rather than those bad qualities provided by the airlines.
The presence of a transport box is also a positive point, especially since it appears to be of good quality. It has a small pocket on the back allowing to slide the smartphone. Inside, a second pocket can be used to store the cables, while a location allows locking the airplane adapter. The wireless headphone is then positioned flat in the case.
Bose Connect Features and Applications
Despite its high price, the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 does not have any additional functionality directly like the Plantronics Parrot Zik 3 or the BackBeat Pro 2 (Check offers). Clearly, besides the commands listed above and the NFC module, the product of Bose makes in the simplicity. There are no motion sensors to automatically pause music when the headphones are removed.
Obviously, the headset remains one of the most complete on the market by combining Bluetooth connection and active noise canceling. Regarding wireless, the connection in a conventional way is very simple, and it is good to note that it is possible to connect the headphone to several devices simultaneously. So we can it to connect to our smartphone while using it to watch a movie on the tablet.
Also, note compatibility with the mobile application Bose Connect. Simply enough at the moment, it allows renaming the headphones, to manage the connected devices or to choose the language of the voice interface. It will also be possible to set the duration before the automatic shutdown of the headphone from this application and is available on iOS and Android. If the interface is intuitive, the options are still a little light at the moment and do not really bring much. For example, it is not possible to set several equalizers, which some competitors already offer.
Active noise canceling – Difficult to do better!
For several years Bose reigns supreme in the market of headphones (and earphones) with active noise canceling. After the QC15 than the QC 25, the new QC 35 seems to follow the same direction as its predecessors.
For neophytes, the idea behind the integration of an active noise canceling module is quite simple: to isolate oneself from the outside world and take full advantage of its music in noisy environments (transport, crowded streets) without having to increase the volume. In practice, this noise canceling is achieved by means of noise-absorbing microphones and an electronic system returning an inverse frequency to these noises in order to cancel them. This is obviously a simplified explanation, but the idea is there.
In addition to the so-called active noise canceling, it will also be necessary to count on the passive insulation, generated directly via the atria and the pads. The Bose QuietComfort 35, with its closed design, also offers correct results on this side since it makes it possible to attenuate some of the external sounds even without being turned on.
Once the headphone is switched on, the isolation takes on a completely different dimension. Like the QuietComfort 25, the new model from Bose makes it possible to create its own bubble in the most beautiful way. In general, very noisy environments, such as railway stations or subway stations, the general hubbub is almost completely suppressed. In town, it is a real pleasure to walk with the headphone as the engines of cars then become inaudible. The quiet feeling of the QC 35 is superior to all its competitors, without exception.
Keep in mind, however, that all noises will not be canceled by the ANC module. In short, the sounds a little more strident, like a horn or a baby crying still manage to sneak up to the ears. However, they are largely mitigated, and in some cases may improve safety.
This is a point on which it is important to return. By cutting off the outside world via the QuietComfort 35, it is sometimes possible to put yourself in danger (for example if you use it in bicycle) or to a lesser extent to miss its subway exit. The problem is that it is not possible to disable active noise canceling when the headset is used actively (i.e when it is turned on). This may hinder some users, not necessarily wanting to completely cut themselves off from their environment, and it is rather bad. A small switch to turn on/off the ANC, or better, a switch to listen to the environment via microphones without removing the headphones as on the Plantronics BackBeat Sense would have been clearly welcome!
Difficult to really throw the stone at Bose as its module is effective in practice. Faced with competition, the insulation is clearly superior and the most nomadic should really appreciate the product. On long flights, it is pure happiness.
Bose QC 35 Sound Performance
Bose QuietComfort 35 can be used either actively or passively, or you can say “on or off” in the manner of a conventional wireframe. But it’s okay as it is only used when battery life ends.
If the headphone, by offering both a Bluetooth connection and the ANC (Active Noise Canceling) is not aimed directly at the real audiophiles, the music is however very pleasant and well-balanced. On the vast majority of musical genres, the QC 35 performs very well, offering both rich and detailed sound, even when listening at low volume. This is achieved by a digital equalizer that adjusts the sound automatically according to the listening volume.
Bose announces up to 20 hours of Bluetooth talk time and up to 40 hours of wired usage with Noise Cancelling enabled. More than adequate theoretical data, allowing the Bose model to compete with the Sony MDR-100 ABN or the recent PXC 550 from Sennheiser.
In practice, these figures seem to be found, since during our review the battery of the QC 35 went out after about 21 hours of use, at moderate volume. Charging takes place via the USB/Micro-USB cable and requires two small hours.
Also note that by default, the headphone does not turn off automatically after a period of inactivity. However, it is possible to solve this problem via the Bose Connect application shown above. Without the application, make sure to turn off the headset when not in use, otherwise it will be battery-free for next use.
If Bose took the time to finally offer a Bluetooth headphone with active noise canceling, the result is up to our expectations. Despite a tariff, this new Bose QuietComfort 35 is a huge success. Both in terms of comfort and performance, it is difficult to find much to blame. Active noise cancelling works just as well, and the addition of Bluetooth offers real comfort in use without degrading sound performance.
As you can see, the QC35 is the best place for Bluetooth headsets with active noise cancelling, although other alternatives remain viable. We think of the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2, much more accessible, or the recent MDR-1000x from Sony. The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless is also a sizeable competitor, offering probably more solid construction and better sound performance. The ANC is not as efficient on this model and its price even higher.